By Dan King
Our America Initiative Outreach Coordinator of New York
Yesterday I wrote about the great story of an anonymous Philly-based twitter account that used crowd sourcing to help Philly Police identify suspects in an anti-gay hate crime, that took place in Center City.
The great work from @FanSince09 and the account's followers helped police identify the suspects and charge them, but wait - there's a problem. Only three people were charged in the 10 (or 12) v.s. 2 attack, which left one of the victims needing his jaw wired shut. It gets worse too, the three that have been charged will only receive punishment for assault and cannot be charged with a hate crime, because Pennsylvania law does not recognize an attack based on sexuality to be a hate crime - what exactly is it then?
The article that is linked above mentions that only three people were charged, because they were the only three who actually threw punches. That does not mean the other 7-9 (depending on which report you go by) were not involved in this vile crime. The report mentions that others held the victims down during the beating, if that does not constitute being involved in the beating, I'm not quite sure what does.
One of the defense attorneys claims that his client was "not the aggressor" in the mob beating and that it "had nothing to do with sexuality," despite police reports and video surveillance indicating the suspects started the altercation with "disparaging remarks about their sexuality."
Additionally, whoever out of the group was not involved actively in the attacks simply stood by idly and watched as their friends brutally beat two innocent people, strictly for leading a different life style.
Apparently the way guilty by association works is, if you are associating with a nonviolent person who possesses a drug, you can certainly get busted for that - however, if you associate with an actual group of malicious people who disparagingly beat two innocent people and you watch it happen, you're good to go.
What a surprise - guilty by association is more stringent toward nonviolent drug offenders than it is toward the people who actually pose a threat to someone else's life, liberty and property.
As the government continues to spend absurd amounts of money to penalize and criminalize victimless acts between consenting adults (drug use, gay marriage etc.) they seemingly turn a blind eye to actual acts of ill-intention and violence. The constitution provides a framework to protect citizens, their property and their liberty from government and other citizens, thus in this case guilty by association makes sense and yet, it won't get enforced.
If no more charges are brought up in this case, it will serve as a perfect example of how politicians (both on the left and the right) have skewed the constitution toward a more narrow-minded approach that undermines life, liberty and property; encourages violence and discourages individual choice and responsibility. While some of these sleaze balls receive no punishment for their putrid attacks, others serve life in jail for drugs; quite the repugnant double standard.